Letters to the editor

No KVM Relief for Classified Networks

With regard to the article "KVM spells management relief" [FCW, July 21], although keyboard, video and mouse (KVM) switches offer great convenience and KVM-over-IP is a great development, this technology is not readily available to developers or users of classified networks.

Although a handful of KVM switches — all analog — are authorized for use in networks processing classified information, they are few and far between, and the functionality is severely restricted to mitigate security concerns.

Apparently, there is no relief in sight. National Security Telecommunications and Information Systems Security Policy No. 11 and Defense Department Directive 8500.1 require that classified networks use only information assurance-"enabled" components that have either been evaluated by a government agency or through the Common Criteria process. Sadly, KVM switches fall under this requirement.

However, neither directive describes how to encourage vendors to submit a low-cost component to a rigorous, expensive evaluation process to satisfy a fairly small market sector.

Steve Kurak
Darlington Inc.

Thank You, Mark Forman

At Entrust Inc., we have worked closely with Mark Forman, administrator of the Office of Management and Budget's Office of E-Government and Information Technology, and his dedicated staff during the past few years and want to offer a special note of thanks for their efforts.

Forman provided a vision that will serve as a legacy for his team to ensure that our nation's commitment to establishing and maintaining a secure, citizen-centric e-government is carried out. These efforts include developing the projects, architecture and policies necessary to bring once burdensome federal processes into the Digital Age.

We wish him the best of luck. Fortunately for industry and government agencies alike, OMB will be in great hands with chief technology officer Norm Lorentz, who is temporarily taking over Forman's position, and the rest of the world-class organization they have brought together.

The next critical step will be for this organization to fully implement the governmentwide strategies, architecture and policies that will ultimately benefit the entire federal government and the citizens it serves.

Entrust looks forward to our continued work with OMB to further the public/private partnerships that have been instrumental in revolutionizing the way government can and should work.

Bill Conner
chairman, chief executive officer and president, Entrust Inc.

TSP Works for Me

I am a retired DOD employee and I read with interest all the problems some people are having getting into the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) online system. Maybe it's on their end! What outdated equipment are they using? We all know that many government agencies and individuals do not have state-of-the-art connections and equipment.

I have had minimal problems getting into the system. Sure, it's busy; I have had to make two or three attempts, but usually I get in and do what I want within five minutes or less.

Now that we have an online system, why not save money? Why waste time and postage sending a confirmation and quarterly statements by mail? Changes are made online and results can be seen online.

I realize that lots of retirees do not have computers and Internet access. However, why not have an "opt out" selection on the Web site, so that those who do not want a paper copy can select the appropriate option?

Ronald Sweeney
Modern Technologies Corp.

TSP Still Doesn't Work for Me

I have had the worst experience dealing with the TSP during this change. I understand that changes will be made to enhance our current systems, but this has been ridiculous.

I have been trying to get a loan processed since the beginning of June, prior to the change. I've submitted my loan request several times because I was getting conflicting information from the Web site and the telephone.

Trying to speak to a representative is also almost impossible. Some days I tried calling many times, and after getting the message that "all circuits are busy," when I finally did get through, I got a busy signal and still could not talk to anyone.

Waltrunette Gardner
Department of Veterans Affairs

Editor's note: How is the Thrift Savings Plan's updated Web site working for you? Let us know at TSP@fcw.com.

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